Arab Communities Protest Failure of Israeli Police to Fight Organized Crime

Community leaders point finger at 'racist Netanyahu government' ■ 24 Arab citizens have been killed in Israel since the beginning of the year

Member of Knesset Ayman Odeh in a protest against Israeli police's failure to protext Arab citizens, Shfaram, Israel, May 20, 2019.
Gil Eliahu

About 500 residents of the towns of Tamra and Shfaram protested in front of the police station in Shfaram Monday against the Israeli police's failure to fight crime in Arab communities.

Tamra mayor Suheil Diab said that protesters "point a finger at the racist Netanyahu government and its police, who don't do enough to fight criminal organizations" that threaten the security of Arab citizens. On Sunday, a general strike was announced in Tamra in protest of the murder of Wissam Jawdat Yassin on Saturday, and other violent incidents that take place there almost daily.

Diab added that responsibility for fighting crime is in the hands of the government, the Public Security Ministry and the police. "If one bullet was fired in a settlement or a Jewish community, suspects would be arrested within 48 hours," he said.

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Muhammed Suboh, a member of the Committee for Fighting Violence in Tamra said: "Our message to the police is clear. It's failing on its duty to fight criminal organizations and illegal weapons. We know that if these weapons were a security threat, the police would deal with them within hours. But Arab communities are lawless."

According to Suboh, the protest is a first in a series of moves to pressure the police. Deputy Tamra Mayor Nidal Othman told Haaretz that the municipality is trying to convene a meeting with the regional police command in order to put together a plan of action.

Meanwhile, preparations for the funeral of Ahmed Darameh were underway in the Arab city of Baka al-Garbiyeh. Darameh was killed in an altercation on Sunday night, and is the 24th Arab to be killed in Israel since the start of the year. The police said that it has started investigating, and a gag order has been placed on the details of the investigation.